The Persistent Sin of Judah

17 The sin of Judah is inscribed
with an iron stylus.(A)
With a diamond point
it is engraved on the tablet of their hearts(B)
and on the horns of their[a] altars,
while their children remember their altars
and their Asherah poles, by the green trees
on the high hills(C)
my mountains in the countryside.
I will give up your wealth
and all your treasures as plunder(D)
because of the sin of your high places[b]
in all your borders.(E)
You will, on your own, relinquish your inheritance
that I gave you.
I will make you serve your enemies
in a land you do not know,(F)
for you have set my anger on fire;(G)
it will burn forever.

Curse and Blessing

This is what the Lord says:

Cursed is the person who trusts in mankind.(H)
He makes human flesh his strength,(I)
and his heart turns from the Lord.
He will be like a juniper in the Arabah;(J)
he cannot see when good comes
but dwells in the parched places in the wilderness,
in a salt land where no one lives.(K)
The person who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed.(L)

He will be like a tree planted by water:(M)
it sends its roots out toward a stream,
it doesn’t fear when heat comes,
and its foliage remains green.
It will not worry in a year of drought
or cease producing fruit.

The Deceitful Heart

The heart is more deceitful than anything else,(N)
and incurable—who can understand it?(O)

10 I, the Lord, examine the mind,
I test the heart[c](P)
to give to each according to his way,
according to what his actions deserve.(Q)
11 He who makes a fortune unjustly
is like a partridge that hatches eggs it didn’t lay.
In the middle of his life
his riches will abandon him,
so in the end he will be a fool.(R)
12 A glorious throne(S)
on high(T) from the beginning
is the place of our sanctuary.(U)
13 Lord, the hope of Israel,(V)
all who abandon you
will be put to shame.
All who turn away from me
will be written in the dirt,
for they have abandoned
the Lord, the fountain of living water.(W)

Jeremiah’s Plea

14 Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;
save me, and I will be saved,
for you are my praise.(X)
15 Hear how they keep challenging me,(Y)
“Where is the word of the Lord?
Let it come!”
16 But I have not run away from being your shepherd,
and I have not longed for the fatal day.(Z)
You know my words were spoken in your presence.
17 Don’t become a terror to me.
You are my refuge(AA) in the day of disaster.
18 Let my persecutors be put to shame,(AB)
but don’t let me be put to shame.
Let them be terrified, but don’t let me be terrified.
Bring on them the day of disaster;(AC)
shatter them with total[d] destruction.

Observing the Sabbath

19 This is what the Lord said to me, “Go and stand at the People’s Gate, through which the kings of Judah enter and leave, as well as at all the gates of Jerusalem. 20 Announce to them, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, kings of Judah, all Judah, and all the residents of Jerusalem who enter through these gates. 21 This is what the Lord says: Watch yourselves; do not pick up a load and bring it in through Jerusalem’s gates on the Sabbath day.(AD) 22 Do not carry a load out of your houses on the Sabbath day or do any work,(AE) but keep the Sabbath day holy, just as I commanded your ancestors.(AF) 23 They wouldn’t listen or pay attention but became obstinate,(AG) not listening or accepting discipline.

24 “‘However, if you listen to me—this is the Lord’s declaration—and do not bring loads through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy and do no work on it, 25 kings and princes will enter through the gates of this city. They will sit on the throne of David;(AH) they will ride in chariots and on horses(AI) with their officials, the men of Judah, and the residents of Jerusalem. This city will be inhabited forever. 26 Then people will come from the cities of Judah and from the area around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin and from the Judean foothills, from the hill country and from the Negev(AJ) bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and frankincense, and thanksgiving sacrifices to the house of the Lord. 27 But if you do not listen to me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying a load while entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, I will set fire to its gates,(AK) and it will consume the citadels(AL) of Jerusalem(AM) and not be extinguished.’”(AN)

Parable of the Potter

18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down at once to the potter’s house;(AO) there I will reveal my words to you.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the wheel.[e] But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.(AP)

The word of the Lord came to me: “House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.(AQ) At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will uproot, tear down, and destroy it.(AR) However, if that nation about which I have made the announcement turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the disaster I had planned to do to it.(AS) At another time I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it.(AT) 10 However, if it does what is evil in my sight by not listening to me, I will relent concerning the good I had said I would do to it.(AU) 11 So now, say to the men of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look, I am about to bring harm to you and make plans against you. Turn now, each from your evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds.’(AV) 12 But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless.(AW) We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’”

Deluded Israel

13 Therefore, this is what the Lord says:

Ask among the nations,
who has heard things like these?
Virgin Israel has done a most horrible thing.(AX)
14 Does the snow of Lebanon ever leave the highland crags?
Or does cold water flowing from a distance ever fail?
15 Yet my people have forgotten me.(AY)
They burn incense to worthless idols
that make them stumble in their ways(AZ)
on the ancient roads,(BA)
and make them walk on new paths, not the highway.
16 They have made their land a horror,(BB)
a perpetual object of scorn;[f](BC)
all who pass by it will be appalled(BD)
and shake their heads.(BE)
17 I will scatter them before the enemy like the east wind.(BF)
I will show them[g] my back and not my face(BG)
on the day of their calamity.

Plot against Jeremiah

18 Then certain ones said, “Come, let’s make plans against Jeremiah,(BH) for instruction will never be lost from the priest,(BI) or counsel from the wise, or a word from the prophet.(BJ) Come, let’s denounce him[h] and pay no attention to all his words.”

19 Pay attention to me, Lord.
Hear what my opponents are saying!(BK)
20 Should good be repaid with evil?
Yet they have dug a pit for me.(BL)
Remember how I stood before you
to speak good on their behalf,
to turn your anger from them.
21 Therefore, hand their children over to famine,(BM)
and give them over to the power of the sword.
Let their wives become childless and widowed,
their husbands slain by deadly disease,[i]
their young men struck down by the sword in battle.
22 Let a cry be heard from their houses
when you suddenly bring raiders against them,
for they have dug a pit to capture me
and have hidden snares for my feet.(BN)
23 But you, Lord, know
all their deadly plots against me.
Do not wipe out their iniquity;(BO)
do not blot out their sin before you.
Let them be forced to stumble before you;
deal with them in the time of your anger.

Footnotes

  1. 17:1 Some Hb mss, Syr, Vg; other Hb mss read your
  2. 17:3 Lit plunder, your high places because of sin
  3. 17:10 Lit kidneys
  4. 17:18 Lit double
  5. 18:3 Lit pair of stones
  6. 18:16 Lit hissing
  7. 18:17 LXX, Lat, Syr, Tg; MT reads will look at them
  8. 18:18 Lit let’s strike him with the tongue
  9. 18:21 Lit by death

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